Springfield Celebrates Grand Opening of UMASS Center

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(Caption: Ribbon Cutting at the Opening of the UMASS Center in Springfield)

The City of Springfield was full of pride this week as state and local officials opened the new University of Massachusetts Center at Tower Square. The Center, which represents a partnership between Springfield, MassMutual and Baystate Health Systems, will expand educational opportunity in the City and across the Pioneer Valley Region.

Governor Deval Patrick spoke about his Administration’s mission to provide access to higher education in order to create success, wrote the Republican Newspaper.

“I feel very, very strongly about the connection between great affordable education and the American Dream,” Patrick told the audience. “We have to make that accessible in every way. We have to make it affordable and we have to make it convenient.”

Last May, Governor Patrick announced $5.2 million in funding to complete the construction and furnishings of the Center, which is comprised of 10 instructional rooms, including six regular classrooms, one computer classroom, and three nursing classrooms, a computer lab, breakout rooms, conference rooms and space for student counseling and public events and meetings.

The 26,000 square-foot facility is located at the heart of Springfield’s downtown district, and is two blocks from City Hall and the MassMutual Center. The new center significantly expands the University’s presence in Western Massachusetts and unlocks a range of degree opportunities to students of all ages that is tailored to the meet the region’s workforce needs.

UMASS President Robert L. Caret said that “The University’ first satellite center has exceeded 300 enrollments on-site as a hub for students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in order to build better lives and better communities.”

For the fall 2014 semester, the Center is offering 40 courses across 10 academic programs, including: Nursing, Education, Liberal Arts, Masters of Business Administration, Cyber Security/Network Security, Landscape Architecture and Planning, Architecture, Addiction Counseling, University without Walls (a bachelor’s degree program for nontraditional learners) and seven training programs offered by other community colleges. The University also has a Welcome Center located on the first floor of Tower Square for prospective students.

Greg Bialecki, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, says the new Center will unlock “a range of new educational and job training opportunities needed to fuel our innovation economy,” adding that “the center’s location in the heart of the emerging innovation district enables it to further the economic revitalization of Springfield.”